Cruise, the autonomous vehicle startup backed by General Motors, has become the first company approved to operate a commercial driverless ridehail service in a major U.S. city.
The company was granted it Driverless Deployment Permit by the California Public Utilities Commission on Thursday, giving Cruise the green light to start accepting fares from customers in their robotaxis on the streets of San Francisco.
Cruise won’t start accepting fares right away though. In a blog post on the company’s website, Chief Operating Officer Gil West says they will “begin rolling out fared rides gradually” to ensure “the smoothest customer experience possible.”
Cruise has been operating driverless robotaxis in San Francisco since receiving approval from the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) in September last year. The company is currently limited to certain areas within the city, and can only operate at night between the hours of 10:00pm and 6:00am at a maximum speed of 30mph (48km/h).
Waymo is also testing its fleet of self-driving cars in San Francisco. The company is currently only offering driverless rides to employees, but does have a permit that allows them to charge customers for rides when a safety driver behind the wheel.